What is a balanced raw food diet for dogs?

What is a Balanced Raw Food Diet for Dogs?


by Andrew

A raw diet or BARF (Biologically Appropriate Raw Food) is the food that nature intended for dogs. So, what does the term BARF mean and how can you ensure that your dog is getting the right balanced raw diet?

What Does BARF Mean?

Adopted correctly, a BARF diet can increase the health, life expectancy and reproductive capacity. As a result, this can mean less visits to the vet. The term biologically appropriate means that the food that is ingested is easily digested and is absorbed by the body rather than being passed through the system as waste. The dog will use the many nutrients to stay strong and healthy.

Unfortunately, many non-raw dog foods are highly processed and full of additives and fillers and/or carbohydrates which have a low biological value and are passed through the body as waste.

Because a raw diet consists of minimal carbohydrates and absolutely no processed ingredients whatsoever, the biological value of the food is significantly higher meaning that the dog absorbs virtually every bit of goodness from what they ingest. One of the first things that new raw feeders will notice, once their dog has adapted to a raw diet, is a vast reduction in bowel movements and a smaller, firmer stool. Of course, this is to be expected; when you have less rubbish going in, you will have less rubbish coming out! This is just one benefit of feeding a balanced raw diet though. Other valuable pluses include:

  • Increased vitality and improved energy levels, especially in older dogs
  • Promotes a healthier immune system
  • Shiny, glossy coat and healthy skin
  • Cleaner teeth and less odorous breath
  • More efficient digestions for dogs with sensitive stomachs
  • Smaller stools and less flatulence
  • A balanced raw diet can aid with anal gland issues
  • Stable temperament
  • Less allergies and food intolerances

Raw meat, offal, bone and some green nutrients are the key components of a balanced raw diet. Each one offers different yet vital nutritional benefits, plus the all-natural, un-processed ingredients mean that canines are able to absorb and utilise almost all of the goodness they consume.


Muscle meat is the core component of a raw diet and is an important source of protein. It also provides hormones, enzymes and energy and can help to keep a dog’s immune system strong. While meat like pork is not recommended, there are several human grade meat options available:

  • Poultry such as chicken, turkey and duck
  • Oily fish such as salmon – low in fat and high in vitamins and minerals
  • Beef – rich in protein and a good source of fat, beef is also high in nutrients, zinc and B vitamins
  • Green tripe – a natural probiotic for the gut


“Give a dog a bone”, we’ve all heard the expression by why do dogs need bones? It’s not just so that they have something to chew on and keep themselves occupied. There are also canine dietary and nutritional requirements which make it a critical element of a raw diet. The calcium and phosphorous is necessary, especially in larger breeds, for healthy bone and joint development. Bone also promotes a nice firm stool too which in turn naturally assists the dog’s anal glands excretion.

Contrary to the popular myth, bone is not a choking hazard unless it is cooked. Once cooked it becomes brittle and can splinter. The bone in ProDog Raw is ground down very fine so that it is easy to chew and digest, providing the raw dog food with valuable nutrients yet being safe even for puppies.


Offal is the term used to describe the internal organs of an animal such as the liver, kidneys, stomach and intestines. In the wild none of the animal would go to waste and offal is a great source of nutrients. It is important however not to feed too much to your dog as sources like liver can contain very high concentrated levels of some vitamins and minerals.


When it comes to including vegetables in a raw diet, opinion is divided between owners. While some prefer to give their dog a balance of meat and some vegetation, there are those who prefer to feed a meat only option. It’s not just owners that have an opinion on this – your dog will have a preference as well. Let’s take a look at some of the vegetables that are recommended as part of a balanced raw diet and the benefits that they offer:

  • Carrots – An excellent source of carotenoids, fibre and vitamins such as vitamin C and vitamin K, carrots are also a good source of potassium, magnesium, most of the B vitamins and phosphorous
  • Broccoli – Offers an excellent source of dietary fibre and calcium
  • Kale – This supercharged leafy vegetable contains a good source of vitamins including A, C and E and calcium

Tasty treats

While meat, offal, bone and vegetation form the staples of a balanced raw diet, there are many tasty treats that you can also give your dog. While the supermarket or dog food brands often pack theirs full of additives, sugars and processed ingredients, natural rehydrated treats offer a healthy alternative. Lamb shoulder strips, duck necks, feet and wings, calf hooves and rabbit ears are all examples of treats that are packed full of nutrients. Keep them in your pocket as high worth training treats.

Fruit is another form of healthy reward and there are many that you can offer your dog as titbits:

  • Blueberries – this antioxidant rich superfood is not only good for humans but also dogs, offering a great source of fibre and phytochemicals
  • Pineapple – in small amounts they make the perfect tasty treats. Rich in vitamin c, pineapple also contains vitamin C, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6 and folate.
  • Strawberries – full of antioxidants, high in fibre and rich in vitamin C


BARF endorse the use of additional supplements to a raw diet which ensure that your dog’s nutritional requirements and well-being are fully supported. You can find out more about ProDog nutritional supplements and the benefits that they offer here.

If you are considering switching to a balanced raw diet and want to find out more, we would be happy to answer your questions. Simply contact us for more information or check out our extensive range of meat/veg complete meals or meat only meals.


16 responses to “What is a Balanced Raw Food Diet for Dogs?”

  1. Sue says:

    What supplements would you add to raw diet, to balance it?

  2. Anne Jackman says:

    Is it necessary to give your dogs supplement on a raw food diet, if so which would you recommend

  3. Sally says:

    Please can you tell me what size your frozen packs come ? I own two parson terriers , who are well use to a raw diet , its not clear on the website. Also can one select the recipes in a bundle as the6 dont do well on raw fish !!

    • PRODOG RAW - Mike says:

      you can build your own parcel with whichever raw meals you wish, mix and match , Our tub sizes are either 500g or 1kg max parcel per shipping is 25kg

  4. Mr Phil Critchley says:

    I have been feeding my 2 little dogs raw for approx a year now one is 19months and the other is 5 and a half. Neither will take a raw carrot or any other fruit and or veg as a treat my dog walking friends say there dogs love it. Is there something at all I can do about this to change there view??

    • ProDog says:

      Hi there

      So, if they are on ProDog Raw Complete, they will be getting enough veggies in their diet. If it’s just a matter of you wanting to introduce them to new treats, try chopping them up small and adding them to their food instead. This may introduce them to the new smell and taste gradually to a point where they will take them as treats.

      Have a read of this blog about ‘balance over time’, this should address any concerns you have.


      Kind Regards
      Team ProDog

  5. Violet Steer says:

    I buy complete meals for my six month Boston terrier, can I add to them .? Maybe kefir, fish oil, wings, bone juice

  6. Susan Summers says:

    How do I store this , in a fridge or a freezer ? How often is delivery and do I have to buy in bulk . My 18 month German shepherd is extremely fussy and is currently on Tails but doesn’t seem to like it anymore He is on kibble and wet food

    • ProDog says:

      Hi there

      So the food comes frozen – pop it in the freezer then defrost and serve as required.

      You can set up a subscription to come weekly, bi-weekly, monthly etc. By doing this you also save 5%. There is a minimum order of 6kg for main areas of the UK. We also sell a sample pack which is on offer currently for £14.99 which includes 5kg plus 2 packets of treats and delivery. So, you can try it with confidence before you buy a bigger order.

      Kind Regards
      Team ProDog

  7. Ana Semedo says:

    Hi there,
    I have a new puppy 2 months old, (cockapoo) and 3kg at moment, I would like to know how much of your food can I give her per meal and how many times a day?
    Is your food suitable for all ages?
    Thank you

  8. hellokitty80_1 says:

    Why is Old English Sheepdog not on the list? I have tried to search it to register or to have a guideline and that breed is not on you list.

    • ProDog says:

      Hi there

      Yes, it appears to be missing from the list. We are getting that added for you.

      Kind Regards
      Team ProDog

  9. David Morgan says:

    What about freeze dried vegetables?

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